Myth-busting: How good do you have to be to go heli skiing?

Posted June 28, 2017 under Alaska, Canada, Heliskiing

‘How good do you have to be to go heli skiing?’

A common question we get asked is how good you need to be to go heli skiing. The good news is that it’s not just for experts, and we thought we bust a few myths about the world of heli skiing…

  • You do not have to be an expert skier or snowboarder to go heli skiing
  • All skiers and snowboarders do not travel as one group
  • You do not have to jump out of a helicopter
  • Heliskiing is not dangerous
  • Heli skiing is not expensive

Myth – You have to be an expert skier or snowboarder to go heli skiing

You do not need to be an expert skier to go helisking. A heli ski trip is typical suitable for advanced intermediates who are comfortable on red runs, but who already have some experience of off-piste.

Ideally you’ll have perfect powder on every flight, but conditions are rarely consistent across a whole descent. You need to be able to cope with challenging conditions such as flat light or windblown crust. Being able to do kick turns and side slip are essential skills.

What is essential, regardless of your ability level, is fitness. A day of heliskiing or backcountry skiing can be very demanding: for anyone heliskiing back-to-back days over a week – such as on our Alaska or Canada heliski trips – good endurance is essential.

Myth – All skiers and snowboarders always travel as one group

When we have mixed ski or snowboard abilities travelling together on the same heliski trip, we will always do our best to put skiers and snowboarders into different groups based on ability. When numbers allow, experts will be grouped with other experts and intermediates with intermediates – meaning no one needs to be concerned about holding up or being held back in a group.

Myth – You have to jump out of a helicopter

You do not need to jump out of a helicopter. While that looks great in a James Bond movie, this doesn’t happen on our heli ski trips. Our qualified pilot will land you in a safe spot, with access to great powder snow, giving you time to unload your skis and equipment before flying off and leaving you the mountain to yourself.

Myth – Heliskiing is dangerous

Your safety is extremely important and there is no activity in the mountains that’s free of risk. We value your safety and our role is to keep you safe. We will always check your aspirations are realistic and suitable for your skill and experience levels.

As well as briefing you and preparing you for your heliski trip, you can rest assured that all of our heliski trips are hosted by qualified local mountain guides.

Myth – Heli skiing is expensive

If you love skiing ski powder you could keep booking your ‘regular’ skiing holiday and sometimes you’ll have vintage conditions. On the other hand, going heliskiing takes the random aspect out of it – when you travel to the top of a mountain by helicopter, you get great conditions.

So is a heli ski trip expensive? We think that depends on how highly you value your skiing, how much you like skiing in powder and what value you place on your time. You could go on one heli skiing holiday and ski more powder than you manage to accumulate in a dozen ‘regular’ ski holidays…and that will cost you much more.

Bucket lists are for ticking

So don’t forget that bucket lists are for ticking, not just for writing. Come and join James Orr Heliski this winter – contact us on 0333 006 5816 today.




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